ISPCC response to the release of the interim report by the Mental Health Commission into the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
ISPCC shares the sense of shock felt by many on the publication of the interim report by the Mental Health Commission into the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
The finding that CAMHS has left more than 100 children without care for up to two years is, as Tánaiste Micheál Martin says, ‘unacceptable’.
In light of these findings, it is timely that Minister O’Gorman and his officials will be examined by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva tomorrow and Wednesday. Mental health will be a key focus there, as it needs to be at home.
The fact that the Mental Health Commission felt compelled to publish an interim report on CAMHS is illustrative of the crisis facing the service. Yet, sadly, this is not a surprise for those of us working to support children and young people.
For many parents/carers, it comes as a relief when their child is receiving support from CAMHS. “However, we read that some of these children are ‘lost children’ within the system,” says Fiona Jennings, ISPCC Head of Policy and Public Affairs.
“It is truly frightening that children who have been on medication are not receiving ongoing assessments to ascertain the impact of such medication on their mental health and behaviour. In such circumstances, how can it be judged whether these interventions are making a meaningful and positive difference to the mental health of the child or young person?”
The ability of CAMHS to provide a meaningful service is also hampered by staffing issues and the slow pace of digital transformation. A digital system that allows for timely monitoring and continuity of care is essential. As it stands, the system is utterly broken, despite the best efforts of those working within it.
While we will always need CAMHS, it needs to be considered what can actually be done with the service in the short term to alleviate this current crisis, and we strongly suggest that there is a rethink of the CAMHS service delivery model; children and young people ought to be able to avail of such a service when and where they need it.
At ISPCC, mental health concerns are one of the primary reasons why children and young people contact us. Calls on mental and emotional health was a top profile in our 24/7 Childline Listening Service over the Christmas period.
Children have a right to appropriate care, and at ISPCC we know the importance of prevention and early intervention.
We call on the Government to commit to a policy of both targeted and universal investment in mental health service provision. It needs to be a core focus in the next national children’s strategy.
ISPCC reiterates its call for the Government to commit with haste to the implementation of the Pathfinder interdepartmental unit on youth mental health in order to align and streamline the mental health supports across various government departments.
Notes to Editors:
ISPCC Head of Policy and Public Affairs Fiona Jennings is available for comment or interview.
For more information, please contact Rowena Walsh, ISPCC Marketing and Communications Coordinator. Tel: 087 3157552
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ISPCC is a charity dedicated to enhancing the lives of children and young people.
The charity provides a suite of Childline services and supports for children and young people up to and including those aged 18 years of age. Childline’s 24-hour support line can be contacted for FREE, 365 days a year 24/7. Children can chat online at childline.ie or call 1800 66 66 66.
ISPCC provide services, supports and programmes for parents/carers and those working or volunteering in child and youth settings e.g. schools, clubs, crèches etc.
Our CBT-based programmes by Silvercloud, a leading digital mental health provider, Supporting an Anxious Child and Supporting an Anxious Teen provide essential support for parents/carers and teens experiencing anxiety.